The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) says that it is pleased with yesterday’s state budget that includes spending on built infrastructure for health and education, as well as an undertaking to engage community on small projects, but wants to know more “about the housing for the people of NSW”.

While the billions of dollars funding is welcome, “it needs to be rolled out in a considered way to ensure the best outcomes and value for money for the people of NSW,” says the AIA.

“Architects will lead the design of spaces for education and health that best support teachers, students, patients, health professionals and the public,” says AIA NSW chapter president, Andrew Nimmo.

“The Institute recognises the key role community plays in providing input for planning and projects, and our experience shows that ‘better places’ are achieved when architects are brought into a design-led process as collaborative partners,” he says.

“We look forward to learning further about this initiative and receiving more detail with which to form a clearer view about how the initiative can be made to work most effectively for the people of NSW,” says Nimmo.

“The Institute is also pleased to note that the announcement of this program indicates a counterpoint to previous budgets, in which a greater emphasis has been placed on major infrastructure.”

“Strong communities are brought together and supported by quality design, which relies as much on the broader infrastructure as it does the local places in which people live, and the facilities they share,” he says.

However, says Nimmo, “Despite housing affordability being described as ‘the biggest issue’ for people across NSW, the budget is strangely quiet on measures to address this directly.”

“Given the NSW population is set to jump more than 40 percent to more than 11 million by 2056 it is clear that a highly considered and committed strategy needs to be developed to ensure high quality, diverse housing options in all areas to accommodate the variously configured households that do – and will – make up our population,” he says.

Nimmo also says that “…we will be able to have a frank conversation about the need for greater housing diversity – crises rarely dissipate in the space of 12 months.”